An Oct. 14 Dispatch letter accused President Obama of serious abuse of executive power based on allegations that he has already issued many more executive orders than the previous 12 presidents. This charge is egregiously false.
The letter misrepresented two raw sets of numbers: 1. President Obama’s number of orders 923, actual is 139; and 2. The average number of orders by 12 previous presidents 10, actual is 623. The ratio of the falsely low number for the average of previous presidents (10) to the falsely high numbers of Obama (923) makes his number of executive orders 92 times above average. In fact, it presently is less than one-fourth.
The magnitude of distortion created with false numbers to assassinate Obama’s character is stunning. This is a severe breech of the commandment to not bear false witness against any neighbor. How does this happen?
The author cited no sources, and he either did not do a fact check or he did but deliberately wanted false numbers published. The source of this allegation was likely the Internet circulation of so-called “urban legends” where the intention is to only forward such political demagoguery to avoid editorial review and exposure. The history and distortion of this “legend” are easily available and high on the lists of both Factcheck.org and Snopes.com.
This is serious business, whether viewed from a secular social-political perspective of integrity, or a religious-moral point of view. If the premise of a healthy democracy assumes a well-informed electorate but significant numbers of voters rely mostly on bad Internet sources, getting the best candidates into office may be difficult. A gullible electorate misled by unscrupulous electronic media players could get what it deserves: more wars and economic setbacks.